A survey of more than 5,600 European motorists has found that one in three do not know where to store heavy items in their cars (on the floor of the boot, up against the back seats if possible).
Worse still, just 10% of drivers understand the risk that loose objects will turn into dangerous missiles in the event of an accident.
For example, an 8kg dog in the rear of a car can hit front seat passengers with a weight of up to 400kg in the event of a head-on collision at just 30mph. A 2kg laptop might have an effective weight of 100kg by the time it hits the back of the driver’s head, as might a large drink bottle.
Dogs should be harnessed securely to seat belt fastenings or else be behind a fixed grill or cage in the boot of a car. They should not be loose – anymore than children should be unbelted. Estate cars should always have a luggage cover or fixed grill to separate the boot area of the car from the passenger compartment.
Goodyear Dunlop concludes with some excellent advice for anyone planning a long journey by car:
- Prepare yourself – Ensure you are hydrated, rested, and have left ample time for your journey
- Check your car’s condition – Ensure that you have performed basic maintenance before you set off
- Prepare for the journey – Ensure you know your route and the rules of the road along the way
- Ensure the car is loaded correctly – make sure passengers are secure and luggage stored safely
- Check your tyres – Ensure you have sufficient tread depth and the correct tyre pressures
This survey was carried out by Goodyear Dunlop in May 2011 as part of its ‘Leave Prepared, Arrive Safe’ road safety campaign. Motorists in 15 countries across Europe were surveyed, including the UK.